home life

the sun has been setting earlier and earlier these days.. 

if there's one thing cooler weather calls for.. it's soul-warming wholesome breads. i was lucky enough to have a chance encounter with a fellow food-blogger on a photography workshop i went on last week. she told me about this amazing easy, no-kneading, quick bread that she makes weekly for her young family. "the busy people's bread" originally by anabel langbein, has a gorgeous chewy texture - like vogel breads. i don't think i'll be buying bread again from the store after trying this recipe.. especially since vogel is a little bit dearer than other brands.. i was also told that this bread freezes very well. i have lunch sorted for a couple of weeks now. so stoked!

mmm.. pumpkin seeds..

a little uneven hehe


ok so dinner. i haven't had much time to cook this week.. so i was really quite flustered this morning trying to decide what to have as there are too many recipes i still want to catch up on. but seeing as my wonderful mart will be going down to wellington for a couple of days over the weekend.. i decided to cook up a combination of his two favourite things: steak and pasta!

as i flicked through the "steak" section of my trusty "mastering the art of french cooking" book, i just couldn't go pass the words "mushroom" and "madeira". bang. choice made.

"filet steaks with mushroom and madeira sauce" it is.

angus eye-fillets cooked on the stove with an iron-cast pan.

served with garlic spaghetti and sauteed green beans...

martin was very impressed with the madeira sauce.. definitely a keeper!

have a safe trip, my mart! 

x talita


le cordon bleu

so.. this week i found out that i was accepted to study cuisine and patisserie at "le cordon bleu" in paris. WHAT THE WHAT?! I COULDN'T BELIEVE I GOT ACCEPTED. I AM SO GRATEFUL AND EXCITED.

so right now i've got this book on order from amazon.. which is a memoir from a past student about her experiences in paris learning at the institution. i can't wait to read it and learn from her mistakes.. lol

i am also awaiting this recipe book, so i can try to get a head start on the practicals!

and i am also reading this guy's blog, he documented every single lesson at cordon bleu, and how he made the move to paris from the US. cool cool cool.

this blog is about to get a little more interesting..


x talita

chelsea and dave: birthday friends

my good friends chelsea and dave had a joint birthday party on saturday. chelsea requested jaffa and blueberry macarons, and i joked with her i was going to make her a macaron tower.

but i actually did make her a macaron tower:

i stuck some candles on with wires on top. a "birthday cake" alternative.

happy birthday chelsea and dave!

a white chocolate/rhubarb/strawberry charlotte - another recipe from pierre herme's "chocolate desserts" bible!

here's what it looks like inside if you were wondering:

chelsea's dreamy flat..

chelsea and dave, hope you guys had a fun time! i sure did!

x talita

the whole house smells of chocolate

"suzy's cake", the first recipe from pierre herme's chocolate desserts book. this is the most decadent, richest chocolate cake i have ever tried baked..

500 grams. yes 500 grams of 72% dark chocolate. (HALF A KILO). no cocoa powder thanks!

8 eggs.. and LOTS of butter. a mousse-like thick batter results.

27 minutes in the oven and voila.

lindt chili-dark chocolate ganache for the filling.

perfect, rich, dense chocolate cake with creamy fudge-like texture.

served with herme's vanilla bean creme anglais.. this cake is devilishly heavenly!

i'm going to wrap up this post with some bonus pics taken from my garden:

x talita


flounder in a flash

"fillet of flounder meuniere" is one of the simplest fish dishes there is. cooked in butter, lemon and garnished with parsley, it is elegant and uncomplicated. i only had 15 minutes to cook tonight because of band practice, but what a delicious meal it was. quicker than the drive-thru at mcdonalds too!

the fillets, lightly coated in flour and seasoned in salt and pepper is shallow fried in butter for two minutes in each side. right before serving, add the juice of one lemon into the butter and pour over the fillets. it's that simple!

believe me, fish does not get much better than this. this dish will definitely have a regular occurrence on our dining table.

x talita


mortal kombat party

i knew the sunny day yesterday came with a catch.. but there's still a little sunshine in my kitchen :)

so what's for dinner? i had my mind set on cooking up lobster thermidor the night before. i knew lobster is a luxury food item, but when we arrived at the seafood store i was what you say.. flabbergasted.. at the sheer expense of the crustacea. $95.90 per kilogram. and.. the recipe i had calls for three one-kilo lobsters. so. scratch that... flounder it is!

in the intermission of martin, phil and joel's mortal kombat party, i served them poached flounder with creamy sauce and mushrooms. i found that "fish filets poached in white wine; cream and egg yolk sauce" doesn't nearly sound as appetizing as "filets de poisson gratines, a la parisienne"even though none of us undestood french. (sorry guys, this dish is very hard to photograph.. the inside is a little mushy hehe.)

the boys ate up all their fish and had seconds! who would've thought!

oven-baked wedges - even better than fried!

3 small potatoes cut to 8-10 wedges - the thinner the better!

1/4c powdered parmesan
1t garlic powder
1t onion powder/flakes

1T (ish) olive oil
salt and black pepper

oven @ 190 degrees
place wedges in large bowl, coat in olive oil
mix parmesan, garlic and onion powder and toss into potatoes
line on baking sheet, season the top with salt and black pepper
place in oven
when it's golden brown, (about 15 minutes) turn all wedges around and season again. 
place back in oven 'til you are happy with the colouring!
serve with aioli :)

and earl-grey tea infused creme brulee for dessert

before and after torching!

:) yum.

i've had such a great weekend cooking. a little gutted about uni tomorrow.. oh well. just three more weeks and i'm outta there!

next on the menu.. roast duck with sausage and apple stuffing. mmm..

x talita



wow. what a beautiful day! after a week of grey and rain, it is so good to see the sun out. and what better way to spend a sunny saturday morning than at la cigale's french markets. i am very happy that i managed to score a huge bunch of rhubarb for a rhubarb and white chocolate charlotte i plan to make later this week.. (shh it's a surprise for a special someone..)

anyway, picture time!

the humble shallot is probably my favourite herb. it goes in absolutely everything in indonesian cuisine. btw they are only $5 per kilo at the fruit/vege shop in picton st howick. what a steal.

late morning sun = awesome lighting.

now here's an interesting point: if anyone ever wants to be given free stuff wherever they go.. go with martin. i think there's something about him that makes people just throw free stuff at. he thinks it's because he resides in "the bubble"; 30 rock fans you know what he's referring to. i laughed. i think it's because he's a really nice guy that ANYONE would love to feed. 

anyway, the story was.. i wanted to buy and try every flavour of macarons they had on display.. the guy at the cashier just gave them all to us for free! i paid him $2 because i felt bad.. and grateful! i have never tried making grape, vanilla, orange, lemon, coffee or green tea macarons before and they were all very very good. i will look into making green tea macarons asap! (i ate that one too quickly sorry, so it's not in the picture hehe.)

wild roses from my garden and la cigale's vanilla macaron:

at $2 a piece they are definitely very good value! (my ones are bigger and have way more filling though.. lol.)

thanks for reading! don't know what's for dinner tonight yet... hmm..

x talita